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Lawyer of freed US hikers rejects abuse claims

Iran Materials 26 September 2011 17:25
Massoud Shafee, lawyer of the two US citizens who were released by Iran last week, categorically denied the accusations raised by the two against Tehran after their return to the US.
Lawyer of freed US hikers rejects abuse claims

Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 26 /Trend/

Massoud Shafee, lawyer of the two US citizens who were released by Iran last week, categorically denied the accusations raised by the two against Tehran after their return to the US, Fars News Agency reported.

Shafee said Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal's claims about mistreatment of prisoners in Iran's prisons "are not true".

He underlined that the two had never been tortured, and said if they had been tortured or mistreated in prison they could have raised the issue during their hearing sessions.

Shafee blasted the US nationals for their claims. "Why have they made such allegations when their problem has been resolved and they have left the country?" the lawyer asked.

The similar accusations were raised by Sarah Shourd last year after she was released by Iran on bail. "But, Shourd later rejected the media reports about her remarks and said that her words have been misinterpreted," he said.

Speaking at a press conference in New York hours after landing back in U.S. following their release to Oman on Wednesday, the two US nationals accused Iran of using them as "hostages" in its power struggle with the West and claimed hearing the anguished cries of fellow inmates being beaten in Tehran's Evin prison.

Bauer, Fattal and Shourd were detained in 2009 after crossing an unmarked stretch of the Iran-Iraq border. They were charged by Iran's Revolutionary Court with illegally crossing the border and espionage and sentenced to eight-year prison terms.

Shourd was released in September, 2010 on health grounds after posting 500,000 dollars in bail by Oman, and returned to the United States.

Two week earlier, Ahmadinejad told NBC News that two American nationals would be freed by the end of the week. Then, Iran's Revolutionary Court agreed to release two U.S. citizens under $500,000 bail for each. However, Iran's Judiciary had refuted media reports on their release.

Last week, the Appellation Court of Tehran Province issued a decree to accept bail for release of two U.S citizens. The bail has been provided by the Oman government.

Bauer and Fattal have been reportedly released due to the mediation efforts made by several world leaders, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Omani King Sultan Qaboos as well as a number of religious figures, who have all requested their freedom.

Edited by T.Konyayeva.

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